Apart from New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of Hungarian traditions in connection with the celebration of the New Year. Most of these are linked to old superstitions or beliefs and can vary between each household.
These so-called superstitions have been weaving the Hungarian lives for over centuries. Most superstitions in gastronomy are surrounded by New Year’s Eve, just think about lentils or the pig. These beliefs have old roots dating back to the earlier centuries, when most of the population were working in agriculture, usually in poor conditions. What they ate on the last day of the year and the first day of the following year was believed to have had an effect on the harvest of the following year, and thus on the well-being of the family.
Nowadays we can eat many delicious meals anyway, but behind every food there is a traditional explanation as to why or why it is not worth consuming it on the last day of the year or in the new year.
We’ve collected some of the most popular meals of New Year’s Eve, so you can check what you should eat to bring luck in to your way.
Lentils and beans
Many culture believes that lentils or beans symbolize wealth and luck. The Italians eat lentils mixed with sausage, while the Japanese eat beans on the first three days of the New Year and Brazil also has lentils, beans and rice on the menu just to be sure.
In the case of Hungarians, lentil soup and lentil soup is the typical New Year’s lunch, but you can also make salads, or pâtés in many different ways. Lentils are really versatile and usually each family has their own recipe for this dish. According to the beliefs, the more you eat of it, the more wealth awaits you in the next year.
With fish, you have to pay close attention to when you consume it, because it can cause luck and bad luck at the same time – according to the Hungarian traditions. If you eat fish at the last day of the year, that is good because with it all the misfortunes and the failures of the year will be left behind, completely gone. However, if we consume fish on the first day of the New Year, we will let our luck swim away with the fish. Nevertheless, in some countries, fish is still a popular dish on New Year’s Day. In Sweden, people make a buffet on New Year’s Eve, which usually contains different fish. In Denmark, people usually eat cooked cod, while the Italians eat dried cod. Herring is a typical New Year’s Eve dish in Poland, so most of the households have this on their New Year’s menu. Fish has a great culture in Germany as well, though they put some fish scales in their wallets as well to help them get rich quicker.
If you want to make sure to have a financial well-being in the next year, you should definitely eat pig, but strictly only after midnight. According to the superstition, the pig digs out luck with its nose. For New Year’s Eve, roasted pork is a symbolic dish, but any kind of sausage can do the job as well!
Apart from these meal options, there are some dishes that you should not eat during the celebrations. Birds can fly away with luck, so any kind of poultry should not be served. However some says that eating poultry at the last day of the year can make your troubles fly away.